The current trend for alcohol ink is to use a low power hair dryer or heat gun to gently blow the ink around on yupo or ceramic tiles to create fluid art. I have been meaning to try it out for ages, but I wasn't sure what would work best or how the ink would behave under the high heat (but I've set alcohol ink on fire with success, so I didn't have much too lose).
So I decided to throw caution to the wind and try it out. I set protected my table and picked out a few colors of alcohol ink that would mix to create attractive colors and thinning solution (pictured above is Pinata Extender).
I decided to try out my hair dryer on low first...so I squeezed some ink onto a ceramic tile and squirted some Extender onto the ink and then hit it with the hair dryer. The effect was similar to canned air. It blew the ink violently and created little tendrils. It also is much less targeted than the canned air and blew my ink bottles and pipettes across the table. As I was frantically going after them, I managed to spill my extender all over the table.
So, I had to take a break to clean up my table. The Extender was sticky and left a white residue on the craft mats. Needless to say, I switched to 91% rubbing alcohol and a cheap heat gun after the spill. The ink billowed and moved and mixed more slowly across the tile. That's what I was looking for!
I continued squeezing blue and green ink on my tile and thinning it with rubbing alcohol and blowing it around gently with the heat gun until the tile was covered.
Then I decided to add some gold ink across the center of the tile. The metallic ink doesn't spread as much, so I repeated with gold ink and rubbing alcohol and then some of the green ink over top until I liked the way it looked.
After I was satisfied with the blue and green tile, I was feeling pretty good about myself. Even after the extender mishap, the tile turned out pretty, and I figured I could step up my game with some more interesting colors.
For the second tile, I opted for two shades of purple and a peach shade called Salmon. The darker shade of purple (Eggplant), was tricky to work with. It turned brown and black when mixing with the other inks very quickly. The only way I could break up the super dark ink was by adding more ink and rubbing alcohol. I didn't know when I should stop with this one, so it got a bit busy.
I kept adding ink--including more gold--until I thought it had a pretty design that was fairly balanced with the different colors, but the design ended up a bit overdone. I had a lot of fun making it, and I look forward to trying out more colors and refining my air gun techniques and color mixing.
One thing I did notice is that it was the most "alcohol-y" smelling that it's ever been while working with these inks and the heat gun. If you try it out, be sure to work in a well-ventilated area!